Hooray! Old Man Winter has Left the Building!

Apr 7, 2010 2:29 PM ET

Hooray! Old Man Winter has Left the Building!

So you’re feeling pretty good, doing a little spring cleaning, getting the house in order for the seasonal change. But keep in mind - you’re not the only one. Mother Nature is also getting her act together. Take a look around you and you’ll see her handiwork: from the birds to the bees, and everything in between, nature is revving up as well.

Here are some ways you can help your Mother out:

Birds are truly “feathering their nests” this time of year and if you look carefully at the construction, the hodge-podge of materials they use is amazing. I’ve seen everything from paper napkins to straws poking out amongst the grass and straw you would normally associate with nest building.

Because my family would like to help our feather friends and save money at the same time, I cut my children’s hair and then scatter the clippings out over our backyard. Our cardinals in particular are most appreciative of the soft material and overall we have found a way to recycle something that would normally be thrown out.

Another way we help out Mother Nature is a little more off the wall, or more precisely, off the deck! When potatoes, apples, oranges, let’s say, are past their prime, we put them to better use on our acreage.

In fact, it’s almost a national pastime at our country home. We call it launching. Not to say we are filling our backyard with old produce – au contraire. No, I’m happy to say that most of our veggies are consumed on the premises. But a good windup and a strong throw sends the fruit of the earth back to where it came from, or to be consumed by the animals that share this earth with us.

While we’re helping our animal friends build their nests and feed their young, we are also very careful about not putting things out that can harm them. Pesticides are a no-no in our house. Basically we are critter lovers. But, I have to admit there are some creepy crawlies we wish would live elsewhere. Take the case of aphids and mites.

These little buggers can destroy your roses and swallow a hedge in no time. Here are a couple of pesticide free tips that have worked for us. Banana peels are great around rose bushes. I was skeptical at first myself but the bugs seem to avoid the yellow wrappers like the plague. Another great idea we found while living in California (and check your local nursery and your specific state for restrictions), is the Asian Lady Beetles (not the notorious Japanese ones), often thought to be Lady Bugs. I know, it sounds crazy, but these cuties are actually eating machines. Our Oleander bushes which ran the length of our backyard were infested with aphids – we were at a loss as to how to remove the bugs in an environmentally friendly way. But one bag, one application of the live Asian eating machines and the aphids were history.

And what about your garden? Ever try companion plants to repel insects?

Many people are aware that Marigolds are great garden borders for they ward off nematodes, the bane of tomato lovers. But did you know that radishes protect cucumbers and basil stands guard around your asparagus? A great website that gives you a rundown of companion plants, as well as insect repellant plants and beneficial insects is: http://www.rexresearch.com/agro/comp1.htm

So remember, spring is here and we couldn’t be happier, but spring comes for all, not just for those who walk on two legs. Your Mother, earth that is, is coming out of hibernation as well. Treat her well. In return she will bless you with abundant wildlife to color your world and tasty goodies to cover your plate!

For more tips and tricks, visit the original blog post.

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